The Canadian Cancer Society is urging B.C. to ban candy- or fruit-flavoured tobacco products in a bid to protect children.
The society said a poll by Angus Reid shows the proposed ban is supported by 74 per cent of B.C. adults and 81 per cent of teens aged 15 to 18.
“We are urging the B.C. government to protect children from the predatory marketing practices of the tobacco industry and the products which, through their packaging and appearance, are aggressively targeted to youth,” said the society’s Kathryn Seely.
On the society’s hit list are flavoured cigarillos, water pipe tobacco, smokeless tobacco and menthol cigarettes.
Seely said flavours like chocolate, peach, cherry and strawberry appeal to youth and reduce the harsh effects of cigarette smoke, making it easier for youth to experiment and become addicted.
She cited a previous national youth survey that found 53 per cent of youth tobacco users in B.C. – 30,500 students – had used flavoured tobacco.
Similar bans are being sought in other provinces and industry reps have said regulators should instead ensure youth can’t access tobacco of any kind.
Smoking rates in B.C. are the lowest in Canada at 13 per cent but tobacco use is still a leading cause of death and disease, killing more than 6,000 B.C. residents each year.